The Croix de Guerre

Another iconic medal in our recent series, the French Croix de Guerre, is a distinguished medal of intricate design, first established in 1915. Cast in bronze, it features distinct reverse circular panels denoting the year—1914-15, 1914-16, 1914-17, 1914-18—akin to the British Mentioned in Dispatches. Recognizing various levels of military commendation, it’s adorned with stars or oak leaves:

  • A bronze star signifies a mention at the regiment or brigade level.
  • A silver star denotes division-level acknowledgment.
  • A silver-gilt star represents corps-level mentions.
  • The bronze palm is awarded for army-level mentions, with a silver palm equating to five bronze ones.
  • A silver-gilt palm is reserved for those mentioned by the Free French Forces during World War II.

Highlighted here are the second war examples with a 1939 back panel, initiated by Charles de Gaulle in 1944 featuring a gilt finish with a red and green ribbon, alongside the Vichy Government version, introduced in 1943, displaying a green and black ribbon. Notably, the Paris Mint is known for its superior craftsmanship. Authentic pieces comprise three main components: the cross, the affixed circular panel on both sides, and a securely soldered suspension ring.